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Saturday, January 16, 2010

ARTE RELIGIOSO


Beholding Love: The Essence of Christian Art

Religious art is dangerous. If you let it, what you see is not what you get.

Of course, you can simply look at it with the eyes of the aesthete or art critic, and see line and color, subject matter and socio-historical context, technical skill or the lack thereof.

Or you can go off to an adventure into the sublime.

This is because religious art, including Christian art, is ultimately only a sign. As a sign, it points to a reality that is outside or beyond itself. It is an expression of a people's experience of the divine, a doorway through which, gazing now upon the work of art, one may enter faith's mysteries once more.

Christian art, whose subject matter revolves around the central mystery of God's saving love in Jesus, invites the viewer to behold this love. To gaze upon it and to behold God's love is an experience which becomes, for both the one who believes and the one who still seeks, an act of contemplation. It is a wordless prayer.

And prayer, as anyone knows, is dangerous territory: it can lead you to amazing adventures where bushes are afire and water turns to wine and the blind see, all because of a God whose very nature is love.

May these paintings allow you a glimpse into that love. If you let them, what you see is not what you'll get. By God's grace, you will find more.

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